Canadian Architect

Feature

Emerging Talent: 2Architecture

July 14, 2016
by Paige Magarrey

Chris Burke, Julie Kusyk, Evan Schellenberg, Tiffany Leong, Chris Gilmour, Andre Silva. Photo by Jacqueline Young

Chris Burke, Julie Kusyk, Evan Schellenberg, Tiffany Leong, Chris Gilmour, Andre Silva. Photo by Jacqueline Young

The name 2Architecture has a simple origin story: “Two motivated people, who wanted to influence the world of architecture,” explains Chris Gilmour, MRAIC, 41, who started the Winnipeg firm in 2013 with Andre Silva, 38, after the two met at school. “We are chipping away at the foundations of architecture, architectural practical and all the reasons we want to make spaces,” says Gilmour. “There are many reasons people decide to make buildings—economic, social, political, et cetera. We are challenging the roots of these motivations—and reshaping them.”

The five unit Building One was co-developed by its residents, and fits together differently sized and shaped units based on the preferences and budgets of each owner. Photo by Evan Schellenberg

The five unit Building One was co-developed by its residents, and fits together differently sized and shaped units based on the preferences and budgets of each owner. Photo by Evan Schellenberg

Recent projects range from restaurants and schools to research into new materials, but the firm’s most dynamic works to date are its multi-family projects. Unlike regular condos, which are top-down creations with a developer in the lead, 2Architecture’s co-op–like condos use a bottom-up model: the future unit owners pool resources and collectively act as the developer. That means everyone’s also involved in the design. Building One, designed with architect-of-record Allan Coppinger, MRAIC, features five units customized for its residents (nicknamed “the bachelor,” “the maestro,” “the jack-of-all-trades,” and so on by the designers); the units fit together “like a 3D puzzle” based on each user’s needs. Silva owns a unit in the newly completed, seven-unit Building Three. “With research and learning as a core component of all our projects, we believe there is a greater opportunity to become better architects,” says Gilmour. “We hope that through our efforts, we help the entire architectural community see new and exciting ways of engaging the built environment.”